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Reaction after murder charges dropped

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Updated: 6/24 11:29 pm

VICTORY MILLS, N.Y. – A grand jury dropped Murder charges Tuesday against a Victory Mills teen.

Police said Matthew Brown stabbed and killed his mother’s boyfriend May 16. He was later charged with Murder in the Second Degree, but all charges against him were dismissed Tuesday.

His lawyer, Terence Kindlon, called the teen’s release a victory.

“Pure joy,” he said. “This is a marvelous example of the law bringing justice to a life of an innocent person.”

A grand jury deemed the 18-year-old acted in domestic violence self-defense after he stabbed and killed Derik Clark at the home he shared with his mom and Clark.

“He heard his mom being beaten. He called 911,” Kindlon said.

Saratoga County District Attorney Jim Murphy affirmed Clark had prior run-ins with the law involving domestic abuse. Though he can’t reveal the autopsy report, he did confirm alcohol was at play, and the grand jury made the right decision.

“He was defending himself and his mother, and I think the grand jury must have found that had he not acted in the way he did, he might have ultimately been the victim in the case and ultimately killed himself,” he said.

Neighbors described Brown as quiet and shy. Kindlon said the teen wants to be a veterinarian and had a tutor from Schuylerville High School meet with him in jail.

“He took a Regents exam in the morning and had a murder charged dismissed in the afternoon,” Kindlon said.

Both Murphy and Kindlon said it’s tough anytime there is a loss of life, but now that a grand jury has confirmed it was self-defense, the incident won’t ruin Brown’s future.

“Someday when he’s running from Congress, and he had to fill out a questionnaire that says ‘Have you ever been arrested?,’ he can write ‘no’ and that is a true answer,” Kindlon said.

Brown was also a volunteer fire fighter at the Victory Mills Fire Department. Fire Chief Mark Dennison said Brown was shy and well respected at the department.

“Once you join the fire department you become family,” he said.

The fire house stuck by the teen after he was charged with murder.

“There was just cause in what he did,” Dennison said. “We don’t support that, but the situation he was in a lot of people probably would have done the same thing.”

Dennison said they can’t wait to have Brown back at the station.

“He’s been cleared, and we hope he comes back,” he said. “I’m hoping.”

Kindlon said Brown is in the custody of his grandparents who are keeping him out of Saratoga County to begin the healing process.

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